"A warrior, a great player, a great captain" - Alan Shearer offers a glowing tribute to former foe Roy Keane
Alan Shearer has hailed Roy Keane as “a warrior and a great player”, in a tribute that may come as something of a surprise after some feisty exchanges on the field during their playing careers.
Shearer was Newcastle captain as he was involved in an infamous clash with Manchester United skipper Keane in September 2001, with the Irishman coming out second best as he was sent off in a game his team went on to lose 4-3.
Yet Shearer has now spoken of his admiration for Keane, with the sands of time diluting any lingering animosity he has towards the player who could have been his captain if he had joined United when the opportunity was presented to him in 1996.
“I didn’t know Roy personally but I played against him many times. A warrior, a great player, a great captain, leader, won everything he could at Man United,” Shearer stated in an interview with the Cork’s Evening Echo.
“Even when he was manager at Sunderland we never crossed path off it, but he was a great. At one point Roy was coming to Blackburn but chose Man United and I could have gone to United but went to Blackburn.”
Shearer also served up kind words for Keane’s former United team-mate and fellow Irishman Denis Irwin, as he suggested the duo were role models for showing young players what is required to reach the top of the game.
“I didn’t know Denis individually but I came across on the pitch,” he added.
“I was kicked by him a few times but that’s par for the course, you give as good as you get. You gotta look after yourself and Denis and Roy were as good as they come at that.
“You’re in it for 15 to 20 years, if you’re lucky. You’ve to put it on, not shy away, because before you know it your career is over.”